What's your idea of a song? Personally, I do want good musicianship; I don't want to hear a garage band who can't keep time try to play songs that were awful in the first place. But more importantly, I look for good lyrics. I think what makes good lyrics is whether they can stand on their own, basically as poetry. A song should be the extended form of poetry.
Having said that, I have read a few reviews, on Amazon and other places, where the writers criticize Mangum's lyrics because they don't get them, or because fan they have spoken to don't understand them, and thus, by logical reasoning, they must be completely nonsensical ravings of a "pretentious" artist. But does misunderstanding mean a song, or a poem, is not any good? I would guess that the majority of people do not understand The Wasteland, but still it is considered to be the 20th century's greatest English language poem. Who has labeled it in this manner? Scholars who have studied poetry a lot more than me.
If literature is not understood the first time it is read (heard), or even the second or third, and is thus labeled as garbage, we might not have The Wasteland, or Ulysses, or Gravity's Rainbow, or hundreds of other works that actually take time and brain power to understand. Although I understand that most popular music today is made for people who have developed incredibly short attention spans and have the incessant need for immediate payoff and understanding, it doesn't mean that all music has to be made this way, nor does it mean that if someone does not follow this formula it immediately forces the work into the category of uselessness or gibberish. So, if you hate Mangum's work because you don't understand it, I can understand that, as you've been accustomed to being treated as a nonthinking fool by so much music, but I still don't believe it to be valid reasoning.
And I've heard complaints of the recording quality. Well, this is a LIVE recording. It was not recorded in a studio. Live recordings are never as good as studio recordings (well...hardly ever). If you expect perfect sound quality from music and cannot stand anything less, don't get this cd. However, if you trade or dabble in live bootlegs, or even go to shows, it is an average, perhaps a little above average recording. Yes, you can hear the crowd, and yes there is a baby in the crowd. Big deal. That is what live means.